Case Studies

Sinns & Thomas Electrical Contractors Inc.: Servicing the Heavy-duty Industrial Electrical Industry

  • Written by: Sinns & Thomas Electrical Contractors Inc.: Servicing the Heavy-duty Industrial Electrical Industry
  • Produced by: Sinns & Thomas Electrical Contractors Inc.: Servicing the Heavy-duty Industrial Electrical Industry
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Eric Sinns and Bill Thomas are good friends who worked together for many years. In 1996 Sinns and Thomas decided to combine their talents and form Sinns & Thomas Electrical Contractors Inc. (S & T). The Longwood, Fla.-based company offers a wide range of industrial electrical services in water and wastewater treatment plants, as well as other industrial settings, with an emphasis on alternative energy in Florida.

According to Sinns, president of S & T, the company started with the two men and limited funds. “We started this from scratch,” he says. “We didn’t have any money and we didn’t have any jobs, but I had a lot of contacts from my previous employment. We started on a smaller scale. We started building small pump stations and small plant work.”

In the first 14 years of business, S & T saw tremendous growth, increasing revenue by 20-percent annually. Since then the company’s revenue has leveled out, but S & T’s geographical range continues to expand. The company performs work from North Carolina south to Key West, Fla.

Part of the company’s geographical outreach is due to the need to sustain the business. “We’ve had to go to different places to get competitive,” says Sinns. “It used to be that we could support ourselves in central Florida, but we’ve had to go out and find work so we’re growing through expanding our work area.”

The company has employed as many as 200 people depending on work available at times, but maintains a core group of 100 employees. Sinns and Thomas have also introduced both their sons to the business. “They’re the lowest paid and hardest worked,” jokes Sinns.

Large Scale Contracts

S & T has built a reputation on large contract projects that sometimes take years to complete. The company recently worked on a new water treatment and reclamation facility for the town of Davie, Fla.

In 2010 the project to complete the $101 million facility with a 6 million gallon-per-day brackish water low-pressure reverse-osmosis membrane treatment plant that can expand to hold 12 million gallons each day. This project is designed for growing need in the town, which anticipates a population of more than 90,000 by 2030.

S & T was brought in to install a high-voltage power distribution for the facility. “That was a huge undertaking for us,” says Sinns. “They’ve gone from an outdated facility to a very efficient state-of-the-art facility.”

As far as state-of-the-art systems go, S & T practices what it preaches when it comes to alternative-energy solutions. According to Sinns, the company recently made a $200,000 investment to install photovoltaic panels that power S & T’s three buildings.

“It’s very small scale,” says Sinns, comparing it to other work the company has done. “It’s really neat. It looks futuristic.”

From huge projects to upgrades for its own facility, S & T is capable of many services. Sinns reports that sometimes the company is not the major electrical subcontractor on a project, but instead the preliminary electrical contractor. In this case, the team sets up construction power for large sites prior to the facility’s service being established, as S & T has done for both local power plant construction sites. “We have several contracts to maintain construction sites,” says Sinns. “It’s real simple stuff, but sometimes this work turns into large maintenance contracts.”

Maintaining Community

Like many corporations, S & T makes donations to charitable organizations. The company doesn’t stop with monetary donations, however. S & T has worked on many projects to serve the greater community.

Most recently, S & T pitched in to help build a dental facility for the Second Harvest Food Bank. The facility will help citizens in need with preventative dental care, as well as restorative. S & T was just one of many local contractors helping to build the facility. “Every year we make sure we do something,” says Sinns. “We give to local charities, but that’s not as big a deal as going in and building somebody something.”

In addition to helping the surrounding community, S & T works hard to keep its employee community working. “We’ve got the best people,” says Sinns. He worries sometimes about keeping everyone employed. “Some of these jobs take so long to get started and complete,” says Sinns. “The volatility of copper is real worrisome.”

Sometimes copper prices can fluctuate so drastically that it can really hurt or help the company’s bottom line. “Sometimes it’s a payday and sometimes it’s a big hit,” says Sinns. “I worry about manning projects with the quality people. We try and keep our good people, but that’s not always easy. We’ve done a good job about that though.” With the next generation of both the Sinns and Thomas family involved in the company and its continued expansion into new regions, Sinns & Thomas Electrical Contractors Inc. will do whatever it takes to keep the business growing.

Published on: April 25, 2013

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